Chicken Parm Heaven! (And those great spicy chocolate cupcakes!)

4 Aug

Before I give you the recipes you want I have to take a moment to brag on this restaurant I went to this past weekend. It’s called Thrive in downtown Atlanta. If you’ve never been and you live nearby, it’s worth the trip and the money. I had amazing chicken and potato pot stickers, pork loin in sweet chili sauce with shiitake mushrooms and a delicious molten chocolate cake. Unfortunately for you the pot stickers and cake were eaten too quickly for me to snap a picture, but here is a shot of the incredible, cooked to perfection pork loin.

Seriously. Best thing I’ve ever eaten. Maybe.

Anyway, now on to this great stuffed chicken parmesan that I made when I got home. =]
You need:
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
thin-sliced deli ham
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
angel hair/vermicelli pasta
half stick (ish) butter

Now take your chicken breasts and slice them longways, but don’t go all the way to the other side. You should be able to open it like you would open a book. Stuff a few slices of ham in the opening. Now take your parmesan and breadcrumbs and mix them together pretty thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken breast evenly and place in a greased baking pan. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

The pasta takes about 15 minutes to finish, so I started about ten minutes before the chicken came out of the oven to give the meat a little time to cool. You’ll want to cook your pasta the same as you always would and in a small saucepan place your butter on medium heat. As soon as it is all melted you will want to keep a constant eye on it. When it starts to turn golden brown (trust me you’ll know!) it is done! So strain your noodles and pour that butter over top, toss it to give all of those noodles a good coating of butter and serve beneath your delicious parmesan chicken!

The result…

Also made by me recently was a really awesome quiche. This quiche was a corn, potato and bacon quiche, and let me tell you it was absolutely scrumptious!

You’ll need…

pie crust (I used a frozen one)
1/2 cup chopped, cooked bacon
3/4 cup small cubes of potato, or you can do them hashbrown style
1/2 – 3/4 cup corn (frozen will work fine, but we used amazing corn from the cob)
4 eggs
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese

You’ll need to pre-cook your corn, potato and bacon. (I just did them all in a pan on the stove, nothing fancy.) Then mix together the eggs and milk and a cup of cheese, making sure your eggs are thoroughly beaten. Season with salt and pepper. Now take your bacon and corn and potato and spread it evenly over the bottom of your prepared pie shell. Pour in the egg/milk mixture and sprinkle your remaining cheese over top. (I use a lot of cheese because, yes, I love cheese. You can always cut this down.) Then pop it in the oven at 350 for about thirty minutes or until that cheese on top turns a nice golden brown.

Now for dessert! The spicy chocolate cupcake I mentioned in a previous post! These truly came out as one of the most delicious things I have ever taste. The chocolate and the spices balanced each other out so nicely. Do not be afraid of this cupcake! It’s really not that spicy! I made them with a chocolate ganache topping as well as a small dollop of chocolate cinnamon frosting, but you can always opt out of either one.

You’ll need…

1 chocolate fudge cake mix + necessary ingredients
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
sprinkling of cayenne, cinnamon
about 2 cups melting chocolate (or chocolate chips!)

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
cocoa powder to taste (I used about two tablespoons)
cinnamon to taste
splash of milk

For the cake all you do is prepare it EXACTLY as you are instructed on the back of the box. No fancy pants substitutions or anything, just fix it. The only thing you are adding is the spices! Now. I will tell you now that it may sound like a lot to you, but all of that strong flavor really fades out when you bake it. So don’t be daunted and don’t you DARE cut the measurements. You won’t taste anything. Bake according to the box, of course.

Now the ganache. Sounds like it might be difficult, no? Guess again. It was easy. And totally delicious. Not going to lie, I ate like four tablespoons of it straight out of the saucepan.

Pour your milk into the saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.

As soon as it starts to boil add in your chocolate and the vanilla. Once that chocolate just begins to melt bring the heat down to a “melt” setting (around 3 or 4 on my stove). Once it all begins to melt down you’ll add your spices to taste.

Once again, that spicy flavor doesn’t come through nearly as strong as you think it will! So be sure to taste test and adjust accordingly! BE SURE that your cupcakes are cooled before you make this ganache, otherwise the heat from the cake and from the melted chocolate makes for a runny mess! So how do you know the ganache is done? It’s done when there are no lumps in the chocolate and you are left with a saucepan full of thick, smooth, rich deliciousness. Take a regular kitchen tablespoon and spoon a bit of it over the surface of the cooled cupcake. I layered on a good bit of it because I thought it was so yummy, but it’s up to you. If you choose to go with a thinner layer you may want to cut back a tiny bit on the measurements. Let the ganache cool in the refrigerator!

Once it is cool you can start your buttercream. Cream together the butter and a splash of vanilla and that small bit of milk. Gradually add in your sugar and then go for the cocoa and the cinnamon. This frosting was so excellent. I made a very small batch of it as I only did a pretty small topping of it over that ganache. Seriously these were amazing. Make them. Eat them. Tell me how much you love them.
Here they are without ganache yet. Poor, naked cupcakes.
And with the ganache. Num num num.

One final thing that’s the easiest thing you could ever make. Muffins in a mug! I made double chocolate muffin in a mug, but the flavor is easy to experiment with. My recipe is adapted from wikiHow.

1 egg
4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cocoa
handful of chocolate chips

Mix all of the ingredients very thoroughly in a small bowl, pour into a mug and put in the microwave for 2 and a half to 3 minutes. Consume. Be happy!

I hope you have all thoroughly enjoyed this episode of Alice! in Cookingland.


One Response to “Chicken Parm Heaven! (And those great spicy chocolate cupcakes!)”

  1. Geni August 13, 2010 at 9:21 PM #

    I have never tried Cayenne in something sweet, but I think I would love it. I really am addicted to these artisanal chocolates that have pepper and some exotic spices. Thanks for the info! I LOVE the mug idea when I must have fresh chocolate cake/muffin instantaneously!

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